PDA

View Full Version : White Beavers and Wood Boats



John Arton
15th February 2011, 03:56 PM
Hi
Anyone remember the white Beavers (Fir,Ash,Elm,Oak,Pine) and London docks, Antwerp, Montreal and St. Johns bars frequented by all CP personnel.
As a young cadet in the 60's coming from the countryside (Lake District), London in the 60's was certainly a eye opener. Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park, Carnaby Street,the Roundhouse plus all those down by the East India Docks if you ventured that far, the Station Hotel at Canning Town with strippers, drag artists in a pub near Vauxhall bridge and then onto Antwerp. Dannys bar, Ringos and Ermars all just across from where we tied up in Antwerp. Them Montyplonk, joe Beefs plus the Venus? bar (saw a guy get shot in that one) plus all the clubs up on St. Catherines where you were offered all sorts of strange substances by the doormen. St. Johns in the winter where parties went on till 0600 every morning, starting the night you tied up and only finishing the day you sailed (about 20 days later) with up to 50 guests at a time.
I was on the Fir when they changed colour and the Railway? Pub just opposite Silvertown station had its windows and doors painted CP green before the first ship even had a dab of it on (Elm was the first).
Thought I'd died and gone to heaven and had to be dragged off the Fir. Then got sent to a wood boat out to BC and realised that heaven did exist. Port Alberni (the Beaumon hotel), Nanaimo, Harmac etc. and all those parties.
Actually had half a dozen of the Alberni girls turn up at my mothers house in a camper van they had hired to tour the U.K. in, bit of an embarrassment that was.
Guess we could see the writing on he wall back then with all the theft in London docks and Labour problems in B.C. but who would not love to go back to those days.

john james
21st February 2011, 08:16 PM
Hello John,I certainly remember the White Beavers,I sailed on the Elm and the Fir as Chippy in the 60s.My first trip was on the Beaverelm Dec 62,had four trips in her then transfered to the Beaverfir for eight trips and then back to the Elm for one trip in 67,i also had spells ashore working by at E berth in the Vic.The Steps pub opposite Silvertown Stn was the final port of call before sailing,bars in Antwerp too many to mention,got chucked out of Dannys Bar once or twice,do you remember the Rodeo Bar in Montreal?,good for Country Music,and the Liverpool Tavern there?.I had a great time at CP and wish i could do it all over again,even the bad weather.

John Arton
22nd February 2011, 04:27 PM
John
Think I can remember the Rodeo bar, was that the one wih batwing doors and a low stage where the "dancers" used to prform. If it was I can remember been thrown out of there with the rest of the boys when the sparky (I think it was) leaned over onto the stage and made to lick a certain intimate area of the dancer who was performing a touch to near to him, she was so suprised she fell over backwards in a great heap and we all got chucked out. Thoose days will never return, mores the pity, as you met some really great guys, had a fantastic time in all ports and got paid for it!
I am trying to remember the name of the chippy who used to head up the shore securing gang in Vic docks in 68/69 when I was a cadet on the Fir, I seem to recall him as a short tubby fellow who liked his cuppas. Regretfully the old memory cells are very grey these days andI cannot recall all that many names of the guys from those days, though Billy Elder and Pablo certainly stick in mind.
Rgds
John

john james
26th February 2011, 10:12 PM
Hi John ,the Rodeo Bar did have batwing doors just like a wild west saloon.I remember the dancers werent allowed to show it all and had to wear tassels over the interesting parts.You must have sailed with my old mate Joe Dujmovic ,he was Bosun of the Fir about the same time that you sailed in her.Do you remember Marias bar in Antwerp,it had names of ships covering the walls and celing.

John Arton
1st March 2011, 01:53 PM
Hi John
Yes I remember Maria's bar in Antwerp very well, though I always thought it was Ermars bar right opposite Hanger 21 where the Beavers tied up in Antwerp that was the one where all the walls etc (even the lampshades) were covered in Ships and peoples names. I thought Maria's was round the corner (near the stand flogging those fab. chips and sausages (rumoured to contain horse meat) that tasted brilliant after a night trawling the bars and that she was some relation to the old lady who ran Ermars and that there was a rumour that she had been a german collaberator during WW2 and had had her hair shaved off after the war and part of her ear cut off because she had been a collaberator.
Can remember your pal the Bosun, if I remember it correctly he was the guy who taught we wire splicing when we spent days in the focsle of the Fir turning old cargo runners into wire strops, which the old man (Bob Cummins) and the mate (Ralph Potts, Irish) promptly sold to the stevedores in St. John and we never saw a penny of the proceeds (well I never did).
Also on one trip we had two ex. Royal Mail boat A.B.'s as relief who were always dreaming of building there own boat and setting off to sail round the world. Apparently they had actually got as far as the Canary Islands one time but then given up after spending all their cash on wine , women and song (sounds familiar). They used to regale me with stories of B.A., Montevideo etc. and when I asked them why they had swapped the warmth etc. of South America for the cold of Canada they told me that acertain incident with a S. American policeman who they tossed of a bridge in Monty early one morning when they were returning to the ship, meant that they thought it best not to be seen in S. America for a considerable period of time!
Happy days spent on watch with all those guys.
We also lost an O.S. in Antwerp who tried to throw himself into the River after a night on the pop. This was just as we were getting ready to sail from Antwerp and he was only rescued by,I think it was, the Donkeyman, who grabbed hold of him and stopped him from chucking himself in the River (and most likely certain death). He was so agitated that we had to call an ambulance for him and he only agreed to get in it if the Chief Steward went with him to the hospital. The Chief Steward was told to get into the ambulance with him but to jump out just as the ambulance pulled away from the ship and get back on board so as we could sail. This he did and the next thing we could see was the ambulance driving away with the O.S. battling with the ambulance attendent in the back. When we got back to London after the crossing the boys went round to see the O.S's family to see how he had got on in Hospital and if he was home. Apparently they knew nothing of his attempted suicide in Antwerp and still thought he was on the ship. When we got back to Antwerp enquiries were made but no record of an ambulance being called to the ship or of any crew member being hospitalised was found and the lad seemingly disappeared of the face of the earth. I never did find out or hear of what became of him, even months later as the regular boys were always trying to trace him but to no avail as far as I am aware.
There was also on trip where we had a full relief crowd of guys from the Outer Hebrides, who were virtually impossible to understand so broad was their accent.
I was in one of our bars just up the road in Vic Docks (not the Steps) and when I went in the place was wrecked. I asked the landlord what had happened and he said a bunch of drunken jocks had wrecked the place the night before. Lo and behold they came steaming back in then and tried agin to get served so me being the brave guy I was decided it was time to leave before it all kicked off again.
The next day we were signing on and who should be our relief deck crowd but the drunken jocks from the night before!! We all thought we were in for a hell of a trip (aside from the language problem) but they never touched a drop once we sailed and never went ashore in Canada beyond going to stretch their legs. Apparently they used to send all thir cash home and only saved enough for a week or so of drinking between ships and woul only go home at harvest time in the Hebrides. I remember the bosun being stunned when one of them asked him in Toronto if he was going ashore that night and the Bosun replying that he was and suggested the Brown Derby for a meal and drinks to which the Hebridean replied that he just fancied a walk in the park! You can guess the bosuns reply to that.
We were also in Toronto for the Grey Cup final between Ottawa and Calgary when the place was invaded by supporters. The Calgary lot actually brought loads of horse drawn wagons with them and set themselves up all over the place cooking etc. We were in the big CP hotel one night when one of the Calgary fans came riding in with his horse, took it up to the top floor and then brought it back down, tied up to the bar and cool as you lilke ordered a drink!!!
What days they were, speaking to young lads at sea today (I am now retired after spending 20 odd years with CP and then with Stolt Tankers, ending up as Master despite trying to waste away my cadetship on wine women and song rather than study), they have no chance of seeing anything like that and at times cannot believe what we all used to get up to, guess they are missing out on all those great experiencies that made you into proper seamen as they all seem so serious!!

best wishes
John Arton

David MacMahon
10th March 2011, 01:38 AM
......if only I coulld remember them all!
I only served 11 years in all - NZSco, Blu Flu, then my last 3 with CP. They were the happiest by a long shot!
Beaveroak/Ambassador, short periods on the Empresses (where I met my 1st wife as Nursing Sister), Voyageur, Discoverer and finally the Van Horne as 2/O in '72. I do remember Bob Cummings and many of the Skippers, and Jo Dijmovic was on the Oak for a while.
Never though back then I'd end up living in Victoria, BC, having visited here (Port Moody) to pick up coal for Japan on the Van Horne. I do have a bunch of slides which I'm currently scanning and will forward to the CP website - www.timelink.org.uk

Dave

graham mcglone
23rd August 2011, 09:19 PM
Hi guys, yeah those were good old days. I was on the Beaverfir for four trips from June 1969 to December 69 as EDH. Bob Cummins was skipper on the 1st trip then Captain Tom Parker took over for the remaining three trips. Ralph Potts was mate on all the voyages. On the first trip we went into dry dock in Rotterdam for a quick bottom paint. One dark night I was asked to drive the capstan and pay-out two shackles of anchor cable. I looked over the side, and down in the bottom of the dock, the cable was being coiled into the back of an open back truck. We were flogging it off! I'm not saying who was doing the flogging but it was a very senior officer.
When we were in Montreal a certain cargo of firs, ie sable and mink from Russia were nicked and then flogged to the furrier to whom they were consigned. Once again a senior officer was involved. The furrier then claimed the insurance for non-delivery of his firs and pelts. Everyone was happy except the insurance company.
The bosun was a great guy, John Glancey. In the early hours of the morning I was putting the crew on the shake for harbour stations as the Beaverfir approached Toronto. John lay in his bunk with his eyes open wide and staring into space. His mouth was opening and closing time & time again like a goldfish. He was totally mute and I could get no sense out of him. The mate looked him over and looked worried at John's condition. He suggested to Tom Parker that we call an ambulance. Capt Tom Parker asked me if, once we had tied-up, would I accompany John in the ambulance to hospital? John was put on a stretcher and taken down the gangway. but before the ambulancemen would allow him into the ambulance they wanted a $16 fee!
In the emergency room the doctor looked John over and started slapping him quite hard around the face, shouting, "Hey buddy, get up - c'mon get up and go home" He slapped John again. I said "Hey doctor, what the hell are you doing? Why are you slapping him?"
The doctor said, "There's nothing wrong with him except that he's as drunk as a skunk. You can take him home now" With that John sat up and a few minutes later we walked out of the hospital and got a cab back to the Beavefir. Happy days!

John Arton
26th August 2011, 07:53 PM
Graham,
I certainly remember Bob Cummings as he was always trying to fix me up with his daughter. Ralph Potts I came across some years later when he had his own company in Belfast.
Cannot remember the anchor cable been flogged but I do know the spare anchor was flogged. Everyone thought that the ship did not have one but as part of my cadets correspondance course there was a question about spare anchors and I eventually discovered it in no 1 tween deck where it had been placed years earlier and a huge square wooden box built around it to protect it. It had been there for that long that nobody gave a thought to this structure in the hatch. When I managed to break enough of it to eventually find out it was covering the spare anchor, then certain persons rapidly put into motion its sale!!!!!. Mind you those litlle dealings were nothing compared to what I used to witness on the Empress boats later when were storing in Liverpool, what the stevedores and certain members of the crew, helped them selves to was said to have kept most Butchers and Bars along the Scotland Road supplied with the finest of meat and spirits and when the Empress'es stopped sailing a good proportion ofb them had to close.
I remember John Clancy, I'm pretty sure it was him whom the ships cat took to sleeping with, curled up around his head. That cat is a story in its self.
rgds
Capt John Arton )retd)

graham mcglone
2nd September 2011, 10:05 PM
Hello John, I've got hold of copies of the crew agreements and official logbooks for the Beaverfir in 1969 and they state that you paid off with 32 6s 6d after a six-week voyage to Canada - I hope you didn't spend it all at once!
Also, do you remember the ship smacking into the lock approach wall at Snell Lock on the St Lawrence Seaway. Capt Bob Cuming was the skipper. It caused a rip in our stbd side shell plating about 15 ft long by a foot wide. We were not allowed by the seaway authorities to proceed any further in case she sank in the lock - which would have brought the whole seaway to a grinding halt. The deck crew stuffed the gash with old fenders, mattresses,ect and then mixed sand & cement and rendered over the hole. It was quite a neat job. Permanent repairs were carried out in Toronto.
The official log states that the Beaverfir hit the wall due to being caught by cross currents and high winds - but in fact no one realised that the helmsman (who happened to be my poxy cabinmate) was drunk as a skunk and had collapsed across the wheel with the helm set at "hard to starboard"
All the best Capt Graham Mcglone

John Arton
6th September 2011, 11:14 PM
Graham
Certainly do remember smacking the tie up wall incident. We only had a small amount of cargo in her at the time and that was situated right where the gash was. I remember going down the gangway with the bosun and A.B.'s only to be met by American Cops with guns who told in no uncertain terms to get back on board, which being very sensible people we did. Took some time and before we were allowed down onto the wall again to even view the damage and if i'm not mistaken we actually did it from the inside. Officially I think the pilot shared the blame as with the cross surrent and the ship being almost empty she was being a bitch to handle and his speed was a bit high. If I am correct in my memory he had called for a tug assistance just before we got to the entrance but the ham shank tug took and age to get started up as I think there was booze involved in the tug boats crew. Any way w went all the way through with that tug made fast forward and what a hassle as it could just barely keep up with us.
Well remember the Toronto repair period, especially very early on mornng where the 2nd eng. and his girlfriend decided to get jiggy with it on the top of a huge pile of pallets that gave way under their relentless toing and froing (both of them well fit). The Fir was a great little ship with amazing characters on board.
My pay off must have lasted me some time as it was a month before I was back at sea on the "Clyne".
Those trips up the seaway were great, almost as good as the winter runs to St. Johns.
happy days.
rgds
Cpt. John Arton (ret'd)

leratty
30th August 2012, 03:33 AM
I served on the Beaver Ash in around 1965. She was a very, very happy ship & the food was great best of any ship I served on & even for us on 12-4 they had food left out for us to have a fry up after the watch as long as we cleaned up afterwards, which we did. How good was that? Must say she rolled like a .... we reckoned as we had our ports bolted down all times it was like being in a Bendex washing machine as the green sea was right over the port every time she rolled your cabin side. We had some hilarious incidents on her up the Gt Lakes. One when the officer of the watch preferred to ignore a strong comment about "sir we are cutting to close" from the lookout hit a gas fuelled light buoy which exploded & sent a sheet of flame up the accommodation leaving a huge black burn mark. Capt. not best pleased (: The other was coming along side almost light ship in Detroit & same officer when asked to go astern to bring stern in to wharf went full astern! Well her stern kicked up then landed on the wharf on top of one of those large steel bollard sending it hurtling like a ping pog ball down the wharf in hot pursuit of some very large black US dockers. Talk about laugh. Big dent in hull so we named her Beaver Crash after that.

I did two trips as the Gt Lakes were just so beautiful as is Canada + the crew stayed as we were a tight knit team, all of us. Everyone got on & there were plenty of laughs all the time just one big happy family.

Had an interesting growler ice berg incident en route home on one of the voyages but that is for another time, scary but funny too. 2nd officer actually worked out how long it would take us to sink along with our time for survival in the water (: Gallaha!

Steve Wareing
19th March 2013, 01:56 AM
Hi
Anyone remember the white Beavers (Fir,Ash,Elm,Oak,Pine) and London docks, Antwerp, Montreal and St. Johns bars frequented by all CP personnel.
As a young cadet in the 60's coming from the countryside (Lake District), London in the 60's was certainly a eye opener. Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park, Carnaby Street,the Roundhouse plus all those down by the East India Docks if you ventured that far, the Station Hotel at Canning Town with strippers, drag artists in a pub near Vauxhall bridge and then onto Antwerp. Dannys bar, Ringos and Ermars all just across from where we tied up in Antwerp. Them Montyplonk, joe Beefs plus the Venus? bar (saw a guy get shot in that one) plus all the clubs up on St. Catherines where you were offered all sorts of strange substances by the doormen. St. Johns in the winter where parties went on till 0600 every morning, starting the night you tied up and only finishing the day you sailed (about 20 days later) with up to 50 guests at a time.
I was on the Fir when they changed colour and the Railway? Pub just opposite Silvertown station had its windows and doors painted CP green before the first ship even had a dab of it on (Elm was the first).
Thought I'd died and gone to heaven and had to be dragged off the Fir. Then got sent to a wood boat out to BC and realised that heaven did exist. Port Alberni (the Beaumon hotel), Nanaimo, Harmac etc. and all those parties.
Actually had half a dozen of the Alberni girls turn up at my mothers house in a camper van they had hired to tour the U.K. in, bit of an embarrassment that was.
Guess we could see the writing on he wall back then with all the theft in London docks and Labour problems in B.C. but who would not love to go back to those days.

Hello John,

Please excuse the (very) late response to your post. I was a deck cadet on the Beaveroak during 1968 and my third ship was the NR Crump heading for the West Coast (Vancouver, Nanaimo - Harmac, Crofton and of course Port Alberni). I emigrated to Vancouver in 1972. I am very familiar with the "Alberni girls" you mentioned and have kept in touch with them over the years. They are all retired now (as am I) and still live in the area. Do you recall parties at the little green house.? They were all teachers at local elementary schools. They flew into Gatwick one summer on a charter, rented a Commer Van (converted into a motorhome) and travelled from Land's End to John o' Groats. On the same trip as you mentioned they also stopped by my home in Fleetwood.

My career in Canada was with the airlines for 33 years including CP Air, Canadian Airlines and finally Air Canada. When I retired 6 years ago, my wife and I moved to Ladysmith (just south of Nanaimo).

Unfortunately, I don't recall the names of those I sailed with but now I have found this web-site perhaps I will be reminded.

Love to hear from anyone who sailed on the Beaveroak (1968), Lord Strathcona (1969) NR Crump, 1969/70
and JV Clyne (1971)

kindest regards, Steve Wareing

Stuart Henderson
19th March 2013, 10:47 AM
Hello John,

Please excuse the (very) late response to your post. I was a deck cadet on the Beaveroak during 1968 and my third ship was the NR Crump heading for the West Coast (Vancouver, Nanaimo - Harmac, Crofton and of course Port Alberni). I emigrated to Vancouver in 1972. I am very familiar with the "Alberni girls" you mentioned and have kept in touch with them over the years. They are all retired now (as am I) and still live in the area. Do you recall parties at the little green house.? They were all teachers at local elementary schools. They flew into Gatwick one summer on a charter, rented a Commer Van (converted into a motorhome) and travelled from Land's End to John o' Groats. On the same trip as you mentioned they also stopped by my home in Fleetwood.

My career in Canada was with the airlines for 33 years including CP Air, Canadian Airlines and finally Air Canada. When I retired 6 years ago, my wife and I moved to Ladysmith (just south of Nanaimo).

Unfortunately, I don't recall the names of those I sailed with but now I have found this web-site perhaps I will be reminded.

Love to hear from anyone who sailed on the Beaveroak (1968), Lord Strathcona (1969) NR Crump, 1969/70
and JV Clyne (1971)

kindest regards, Steve Wareing

Hi Steve,
First time Ive seen the name Lord Strathcona on any of these sites. I sailed on her later than you though. It was 1972 as Purser/CS but a good trip signed off in south of france I recall Port Du Bou ? Was on Cunard cargo boats fifteen years and loved the Canadian run despite harsh winters.
Stuart

Robert T. Bush
19th March 2013, 06:05 PM
Around 1961 I was in a yacht based at Oak Bay near Victoria. Our favourite watering hole there was the Lord Strathcona Hotel. Mine host anxious not to have the walls in the WC defaced placed a black board over the urinals with a piece of chalk.

Several poets indulged and one piece I remember went.

"It's no use standing on the seat

The crabs in here can jump six feet."

John Nicholson
1st April 2013, 03:38 PM
John,

I sailed on the Beaverlake March 1954 to June 1954 and the Beaverburn January 1955 to May 1955 as a Wiper. Outwardbound we had two major incidents but I can not remember on which ship. The first was a crankcase case explosion which nearly injured an Oiler who had just checked the overheads. The second was in the Gulf of St Lawrence when we hit wreckage or some said a SUB.
The first incident required us to lay off Falmouth to alow the Insureres Representative to inspect and clear the ship for the trip without a standby unit.The second resulted in us having to drydock in Halifax to replace the screw and stern gland. On my first trip on a Beaver Boat , I was amazed at the quality and amount of the food,quite outstanding.I was given a tour of the bars in Antwerp two fellow Wipers Ricky Sayers and Ray Deluze. As I recall Maria`s Bar was the RINGO BAR and she had an attractive daughter who had her favourates, at least one on each of my ships.

We also called at the WHITEHOUSE BAR and looked in at DANNY`S BAR. I passed thru Antwerp in 1970 on the way to Germany and the RINGO BAR was still there but Maria had left for Spain the day before and it was closed. In 2006 I was on a Fred Olsen Cruise ship and we stopped in Antwerp at the old CPS Berth going ashore I could find no trace of the old haunts as there had been quite a lot of redevelopment work in the area. There was however, a Bar opposite the berth called THE BEAVER BAR which I do not remember and it had pictures of the old ships on the wall. It was closed while we were in port so I was unable to check it out.

Montreal was like visiting another planet for me after wartime and post war Britain with all the shortages again I had the advantage of an escorted tour taking in China Town and the 42 Club.
Where was the Rodeo Bar ?

I have had occasion to visit the old Victoria Docks which now houses an exhibition centre. The old haunts have now been replaced by upmarket winebars frequented by members of the self admiration society who have no concept of what it is like to do a days real work. On that happy note I will sing off. Any background on the two incidents mentioned in Para One would be interesting.

Regards,

John Nicholson

geoff bray
2nd April 2013, 08:52 PM
I sailed for CP for about five years from 1965-1970. Met a lot of great people on quite a few ships Beaverelm, Beaverpine, Beaverash, maiden voyage of the Lord Strathcona and my last ship the Pacific Logger. I am going to attemp to attach a photograph that I took of "Captain Boots" real name Captain Aikman in the bar onboard the Beaverpine in 1968 when we got the Golden Cane for being the first ship up to Quebec,
Sorry guys could not upload it
Geoff Bray

geoff bray
2nd April 2013, 08:53 PM
I guess I did attach the photo

Bill Bland
2nd April 2013, 10:41 PM
Pub just up the road fron The Steeps was the Free Masons, all Irish bar maids.
Was not the Seamans Mission next to the Steeps known as "Stornaway Castle"".